There’s a lot of independent filmmakers out there, even ones that worked for decades, continuingly cranking out feature after feature. But there’s a selected few that went past that and actually created their own functioning movie studio way outside of Hollywood. There were people like Larry Buchanan in Texas or Earl Owensby in North Carolina. Then was Bill Rebane, who created the Shooting Ranch in Gleason, Wisconsin, which was a complete movie studio, from a post-production, recording studios, to even having lodging for the actors to stay, not to mention its own restaurant. This was Rebane’s way of keeping production costs down for his movies, if he could keep all the expenses low by providing them all within the studio. Smart man.Continue reading
Compared to my movie-watching totals from last year, I really was slacking off! In 2020, I clocked in 422 titles! Not sure how I did that, but that really set the bar high for me from then on. But in 2021, I only got through 278 titles, but at least 160 of those were new viewings. My goal for this year is to hit at least 300, but we’ll see how that goes!
Below are the 10 films that I thought stood out amongst the rest and are definitely worth seeking out. These are listed in alphabetical order, and as always, these are all new viewings to me, so it doesn’t matter what year they actually came out. Enjoy!Continue reading
If you would have told me 20 years ago, that filmmakers of the likes of Al Adamson, Andy Milligan, or William Grefé, were going to be getting a special box set of their films, I’d think you’re just plain nuts. But not only do those exist, we now have one coming on Wisconsin’s own Bill Rebane. Probably best known for his epic The Giant Spider Invasion (1975), he was one of these independent filmmakers that stayed away from Hollywood, making his own little version in Gleason, Wisconsin, producing films for over a 20-years. And now, thanks to Arrow Video, you’ll have the chance to witness 6 of these titles on Blu-ray in all new restorations in the Weird Wisconsin: The Bill Rebane Collection!
Now I will say that I have seen most of the films in this collection and while some are fun and entertaining in a low budget sort of way, one of them is barely watchable. In fact, back in the VHS days, I ended up watching it twice, under two different titles before I realized it. That film would be Invasion from Inner Earth, also released under the title simply as They. But you know what? I’ve already pre-ordered my set anyway! Because that is what we do as film fans. It is simply a way to look a little deeper and closer at someone’s work, maybe seeing it a different way. Not to mention there is so much bonus material in this collection that for me, it is simply a must have. Continue reading
Back on our old site, there is probably close to a hundred different convention reports, or film fests, and whatnot. I used to post on those religiously, but after doing so many, it started to become tiresome because a lot of them started to sound the same. As well as some of the shows becoming more and more overpriced autograph shows, it was getting even hard to not be negative all the time. There are a ton of photos posted of many different celebrities that we’ve seen over the years. I thought about bringing them over to the new site, but haven’t completely decided on that just yet. But there are a few that I will be bringing over, such as this one, mainly because this is quite different than most of the conventions and film fests that I’ve been do over the last 20 years. Hope you enjoy!
I don’t remember the exact date, but it was early in 2005, but I remember calling my good friend Eric Ott with some exciting news. I had known Eric for maybe 10 years, and had never known anybody that was a bigger fan of the work on Wisconsin filmmaker Bill Rebane than him. Most notably for making The Giant Spider Invasion (1975), but Rebane had directed about 10 films throughout his career. Eric was always on the lookout for VHS tapes of his movies, as well as posters, and any other material from his work, even scoring some 16mm prints over the years. So when I read online that in Madison, Wisconsin, there was going to be an actual Bill Rebane Film Festival, and that Mr. Rebane himself was going to be there, I quickly called Eric to tell him that no matter what he had planned on May 7th, he was going to have to cancel it. Because we were going to make a road trip up to Madison for this.
Gods of Grindhouse
BearManor Media, 2013. 169 pages.
Edited by Andrew J. Rausch
I know everyone out there knows the name of Roger Corman. But what about Ted V. Mikels? Or Ray Dennis Steckler, Jack Hill, or Bill Rebane? These gentlemen, plus a few more, are the names covered in this very important book. The guys are from the filmmaking industry that I feel are much more important than the likes of Michael Bay. Why? Simple. There movies are something you will remember and will stand the test of time. Each generation will discover and be entertained by them. Without the talented craftsmen discussed in this volume, there would be no Quentin Tarentino. So while their movies may be the jest of places like MST3K, that doesn’t take away from what their films are about, as well as the people that struggled to get them made and distributed.
I know I preach over and over on this site about how important it is to know your history when it comes to the genres, but I wouldn’t keep saying it if I really didn’t believe it. So many younger filmmakers, such as the previous mentioned Tarantino, grew up watching the films from these guys, being inspired to make their own mark with their films. So yes, it is VERY important to know these guys and their work. And this book is a great way to start.
Born Feb. 8th, 1937
If you’ve heard of Bill Rebane, it is probably due to his movie 1975 epic The Giant Spider Invasion. But that is a good start if you haven’t heard of him. Rebane made quite a few lower budgeted films, all made in Wisconsin, usually at his Shooting Ranch Studio, a full fledge film production studio that not only made several feature films, but tons of commercials, industrial films, and much more.
Rebane arrived in the US in 1952 at the age of 15, coming from Estonia. While he speaks 5 languages, he learned to master the English language by watching American movies, which helped fuel his love for the cinema. He started his media career at WGN-TV in Chicago, working his way up from the mailroom to eventually executive producer.
In the late ’60s, he started his film ranch in Wisconsin which would be the first full-time feature film studio in the Midwest, which ran for over 30 years. During those years, he made such films as Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake (1975), The Alpha Incident (1978), The Capture of Bigfoot (1979), and The Demons of Ludlow (1983), and even a few more.
While his films might not be the best made films, they are usually entertaining, even if in a MST3K sort of way. And he made the most entertaining giant spider movie ever made! So for that fact alone, everyone should know and remember who Bill Rebane is.
Fifteen years. I can’t even fathom the idea that for the last one and a half decades, I’ve been spending my Black Friday sitting in front of my TV watching some of the finest is cinematic shipwrecks. But even better, for most of those years, I have been watching them with some great friends, which makes the experience even better. Including this year’s titles, we’ve “experience” over a hundred titles in those fifteen years. And I do mean “experience”, because some titles it is so much more than just watching. Sitting there with a bunch of like minded crazy cinephiles, really does make it an “experience”. This year, there was moments when the laughing was so loud and hard, that I actually feared for some of the sanity in the room!
Regulars to the Krypt not only know of my love for Turkey movies, but especially when they come from Wisconsin and involve a giant spider that has been made out of a Volkswagen beetle. It just boggles the mind when a movie like Bill Rebane’s The Giant Spider Invasion not only gets a blu-ray edition, but a 2-disc edition with a ton of extras, including a new documentary by the talented Daniel Griffith. But it is all true.
VCI Entertainment will be unleashing this Rebane’s monstrous arachnid, The Giant Spider Invasion next month on June 6th. It will feature the new documentary Size Does Matter! Making of The Giant Spider Invasion which is probably the thing that I’m looking forward to the most. Below is all the other extras included on this special edition. Some of it looks like it might have been filmed back at the Bill Rebane Film Fest that took place in Madison, WI, back in 2005, which I was honored to be in attendance. So it will great to see that being archived.
Now in the 6th year of holding my annual Turkey Day marathon, AC and I took another fistful of films considered to be turkeys, B-movies, MST-fodder, or just a waste of time. But not for us. As crazy as we might be, we find quite a bit of enjoyment out of watching these films, where the filmmakers were really trying to their best to make a good film. Granted, most of them missed the mark when it comes to being good. But is it entertaining? That is the true test of a film, turkey or not. So let’s venture forth and see what fun we got ourselves into this year. From a couple of alien invasion films, Tiny Tim as a clown, Hammer’s sci-fi epic, or a low budget film from good old Michigan, we had our work cut out for us this year. Let’s begin.
The Eye Creatures (1965) – Larry Buchanan was a filmmaker that makes Roger Corman look like he had bigger budgets than James Cameron. He was making his little films in his home state of Texas, and usually turning a profit. Sure, he may not have made high quality films, but the ones that he made, made money. And in the film business, that is the only way to continue to making films. He had made a deal with American International Pictures to remake their film Invasion of the Saucer Men. Of course, with a much lower budget, and in color. But it didn’t stop him from giving them, and us, The Eye Creatures. This was so successful, that he went on to remake 3 more titles from the AIP catalog.
Starring John Ashley, the film pretty much follows the original, except the creatures themselves. Where in the original, the creature designs were well-crafted and thought out by Paul Blaisdell. But here, we have guys in suits that look like the Michelin Man’s 2nd cousin. There are a couple of scenes where there are several of the alien creatures attacking, moving very slowing and waving their arms. But if you look closely, you will see that only a couple of the closer aliens had full body suits on, while some others just have their head and shoulders covered, the rest of their bodies covered in black. Pretty damn funny that nobody caught that.
But none the less, Ashley gives it his all, like he always did. And it’s a fun movie with the definite feel of the ‘50s movies that it was based on. There is a lot of the silly humor in here, with both some main characters, and the whole subplot of a couple of military guards that like to use the radars to spy on the kids making out in lovers lane. Lucky for us, the film did get an actual DVD release, so many can enjoy it for years to come.